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Obamacare’s Promised Deficit ‘Reduction’ is False

by Charles Krauthammer

One of the frequent Democratic defenses against the GOP-led effort at repealing the massive healthcare law is that it actually would increase the deficit, not reduce it.

It is an argument that has been backed by the Congressional Budget Office and parroted by the mainstream media with surprisingly little detailed analysis: that President Barack Obama’s signature legislative effort manages to cut the deficit while providing healthcare for everyone. Who could argue with that?

But on Sunday, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer took a good look at the numbers and found them laughable.

In a column in The Washington Post, Krauthammer asked, “Suppose someone — say, the president of United States — proposed the following: We are drowning in debt. More than $14 trillion right now. I’ve got a great idea for deficit reduction. It will yield a savings of $230 billion over the next 10 years: We increase spending by $540 billion while we increase taxes by $770 billion.

“He’d be laughed out of town. And yet, this is precisely what the Democrats are claiming as a virtue of Obamacare. During the debate over Republican attempts to repeal it, one of the Democrats’ major talking points has been that Obamacare reduces the deficit — and therefore repeal raises it — by $230 billion. Why, the Congressional Budget Office says exactly that.”

As Krauthammer points out, this boils down to a radical increase in spending, topped by an even more radical increase in taxes. Using that logic, Democrats trumpet a net deficit reduction.

Like other examples of smoke-and-mirrors spending projections, the Obamacare bill was “gamed to produce a favorable CBO number.”

How? The entitlement it creates — government-subsidized health insurance for 32 million Americans — doesn’t kick in until 2014. That means that any projection for this decade would cover only six years of expenditures but capture 10 years of revenue. “With 10 years of money inflow vs. six years of outflow, the result is a positive — i.e., deficit-reducing — number. Surprise,” Krauthammer points out.

Krauthammer also notes that Obamacare actually creates two new entitlements that will cost Americans for decades to come if the law isn’t repealed. It creates long-term care insurance that, with an aging population, “promises to be the biggest budget buster in the history of the welfare state.”

But how could such a costly program actually reduce the deficit over the next 10 years, as the CBO maintains?

The answer is that by collecting premiums now, and paying out no benefits for the first 10 years, you end up with a savings. A surplus.

Krauthammer quotes former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin and scholars Joseph Antos and James Capretta: “Only in Washington could the creation of a reckless entitlement program be used as ‘offset’ to grease the way for another entitlement.”

“That a health-care reform law of such enormous size and consequence, revolutionizing one-sixth of the U.S. economy, could be sold on such flimflammery is astonishing, even by Washington standards. What should Republicans do?

“Make the case. Explain the phony numbers, boring as the exercise may be. Better still, hold hearings and let the CBO director, whose integrity is beyond reproach, explain the numbers himself.”

But he adds, “This does not absolve the Republicans from producing a health-care replacement. They will and should be judged by how well their alternative addresses the needs of the uninsured and the anxieties of the currently insured. But amending an insanely complicated, contradictory, incoherent and arbitrary 2,000-page bill that will generate tens of thousands of pages of regulations is a complete non-starter. Everything begins with repeal.”

Read more on Newsmax.com: Krauthammer Dismembers Obamacare’s Promised Deficit ‘Reduction’

THE REAL COST OF OBAMACARE

Author: Michael Young | Dec 28, 2010

In March of this year, Congress was debating one of the most controversial and complex pieces of legislation in decades – the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare – when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said something very cynical, very condescending and yet also instructive. She said: “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy.”

Well, the “fog” has started to lift, but the raging controversy surrounding it definitely has not.

Pulitzer Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman added the most recent log to the fire when he disclosed how government bureaucrats will make medical choices for U.S. seniors if liberals like him and President Obama get their wishes. As Mr. Krugman told ABC News’”This Week” program last month:

“Medicare is going to have to decide what it’s going to pay for, and at least for starters it’s going to have to decide which medical procedures are not effective at all – and should not be paid for at all.”

Later in the same show, Mr. Krugman added:

“Somewhere down the pike, we’re going to get the real [health care] solution, which is a combination between ‘death panels’ and sales taxes.”

The reason most Americans reject turning over personal medical decisions to the government is that bureaucrats generally can be trusted to show the same level of care and attention to detail that led them to send $18 million from the 2009 stimulus bill to 72,000 dead Americans or another $4.3 million to 17,000 prison inmates or to spend $145,000 to test the effects of cocaine on monkeys or… You get the point.

No, Americans reject Obamacare by overwhelming – and growing – majorities because it was shoved down our throats with noneof the transparency Mr. Obama repeatedly promised, using the kind of partisan politics he assured us would by now be a thing of the past.

We also reject Obamacare because it imposes $500 billion in new taxes, creates 150 new boards and commissions, swells the federal deficit to record levels and forces costly unfunded mandates on the states – many of which are saddled with staggering budget deficits as it is.

Even the special-interest groups that helped strong-arm Obamacare through the liberal-led Congress are buckling under the weight of its new requirements. To date, 34 unions representing 140,000 union workers (including the Service Employees International Union chapter in Cleveland) have asked to be exempted from the law. Meanwhile, AARP, which provided a key endorsement, recently informed its employees that their health care co-pays were going up and their insurance premiums were increasing between 8 percent and 13 percent.

At last count, nearly 225 companies have been exempted from Obamacare – which shows that the legislation is a job-killer. Perhaps worst of all, Obamacare doesn’t even work. It will still leave 23 million Americans without coverage by 2019, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

All of this, and more, explains why a new poll out just this week shows for the first time since the bill was railroaded through Congress in March that a majority of Americans think Obamacare is likely to be repealed. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 52 percent of likely U.S. voters think it is at least somewhat likely that the health care plan will be repealed. Just 33 percent view repeal as unlikely.

And of course, many think federal Judge Henry E. Hudson’s recent ruling that forcing all Americans to buy health insurance is unconstitutional also means the legal tide is turning against the administration and its allies on this issue as well.

Thankfully, the fog of which Mrs. Pelosi spoke is lifting just in time for the American people, and our leaders, to see that we are about to head off a cliff – so we can correct our course and avert the clear and catastrophic implications of Mr. Obama’s policy.

It’s been said that “a politician thinks about the next election, a statesmen of the next generation.” With an Obamacare repeal bill moving from sure passage in the House to the Senate, much attention will be paid to the 21 Democratic senators who voted for Obamacare who will face the voters again in 2012. To be sure, they have ample cause to support repeal.

Doing so will help them honor their moral obligation to their youngest constituents – the next generation who otherwise would be saddled with trillions in debt – while also helping enhance their own political prospects at the same time. Rarely does history offer such a clear win-win situation on such a vexing issue.

Michael Young is the founder of Generation America and Project 21-12 to repeal Obamacare.

Five Lies About ObamaCare

1.The Budget Buster

White House officials brag that the multi-trillion-dollar health-care bill reduces deficit. But once fully implemented, ObamaCare will have the nation swimming in even more debt. When taxes and spending meet on the actual first 10 years of ObamaCare (2014-2023), the projected cost is $2.6 trillion. Also tack on an extra $200 billion for the Medicare “doc fix” portions and another $115 billion in discretionary spending needed to help execute the law.

2. Lower Thy Premium

Barack Obama promised to lower premiums by $2,500 a year for the average family. But now, in the real world, the cost of individual insurance will rise by $2,100 per year, says an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.

3. Cost Control Fantasy

Remember when Obama said: “If any bill arrives from Congress that is not controlling costs, that’s not a bill I can support. It’s going to have to control costs.” Costs are a-soaring! The chief Medicare actuary, Richard Foster, stipulated in an April 2010 report that ObamaCare will increase health expenditures “by a total of $311 billion” over the next 10 years.

4. Jobs Killer

While the left is out chest-thumping that the Republicans should address the economy and not health care, the likelihood of economic growth and ObamaCare are inexorably tied together. As one GOP aide put it, repeal means that “taxpayers will not face $569 billion in tax increases scheduled to take effect over the coming years—job-killing taxes that will harm an economy struggling to grow.”

5. Big Government Galore

“The question we ask today is not whether government is too big or too small, but whether it works.” Barack said it on Inauguration Day. Funny thing is, the size of government and its efficacy are blood brothers.  And Americans know it, but the objections of the people were drowned out by the Democrats’ government-knows-best elitism. So with ObamaCare comes 159 new programs, bureaucracies and boards for Americans to look forward to.

The Bottom line is simple:  The GOP must do all in its power to weaken and defang Obamacare until a full overhaul is achieved.  Remember the Gipper’s sage warning:  The closest thing we’ll ever see to eternal life here on earth is a government agency.  And Obamacare gave us a whole new fleet of bureaucracies to worry about.

Obamacare ‘A Theft of Liberty’

Rep. Steve King, a leader of House Republicans seeking the repeal of Obamacare, tells Newsmax that the healthcare reform law constitutes “a theft of the liberty of the American people” and repeal is an ultimate certainty.

The Iowa Republican also declares that Obamacare was the “core issue” that ended Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats’ control of the House, predicts that the Senate will go along with the House and vote for repeal, and says if President Obama does not sign a repeal bill then Republicans will defund healthcare reform until Americans elect a president in 2012 who will support repeal.

Ahead of Wednesday’s anticipated vote in the House on Obamacare repeal, Rep. King is presenting hundreds of thousands petitions from Americans demanding the repeal. In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, King was asked what message he is hoping to send.

“I want to make sure that members of Congress on the Hill here and across the country understand how deeply and how broadly Americans have rejected Obamacare,” says King, who introduced repeal legislation in March.

“It was the core issue that turned the majority around in the House of Representatives and caused Nancy Pelosi to have to hand the gavel to John Boehner. We want to carry on the momentum on this issue and send a message to those who might be on the fence. This is the beginning of the repeal effort. It’s not the end by any means.”

Referring to a new poll showing that strong opposition to Obamacare has fallen to its lowest level in more than a year, King explains: “I see different polls with different results. When you break it down, I’m still very confident that the American people reject Obamacare.

“One of the things is, should we require employers to provide certain benefits, and sometimes the answer is as high as 59 percent. But it’s job-destroying, and if you ask the question, if you knew your employer was going to have to lay off so many people or not open up a certain number of jobs, would you still want to impose this mandate on your employer, I think a lot of Americans would change their mind. I think we’ve already won the debate.”

King dismisses assertions that repeal of Obamacare would add $230 billion to the federal deficit over 10 years.

“It was a rigged score from the beginning,” he says.

“They calculated 10 years of tax revenue but only six years of expenditures. So if that’s the basis of their calculation I’ll say it’s not relevant.

“And when it comes to something that is unconstitutional, that is a theft of the liberty of the American people, then [there is no] price tag we can put on it. It’s too valuable. Our liberty is priceless, and we cannot be the country that we shall become if we’re going to become the ever-expanded dependency class living in a nanny state. And that’s what Obamacare does to us.”

Asked what kind of support the repeal effort can expect from Democrats in the House, King responds: “There would be a lot more votes [against Obamacare] from Democrats if many of those who lost the election had a do-over. A lot of them lost because of their support for Nancy Pelosi and Obamacare.

“I think there will be 15 no votes from Democrats, and I’m hopeful that number will grow as the debate continues.”

King outlined the defunding approach Republicans will take if the Senate does not support repeal and Obama doesn’t sign the repeal legislation.

“It’s been part of my strategy from the beginning when I introduced this repeal legislation. It was predicated on Republicans winning a majority in the House, which we did, and now we need to shut off any funding that could be used to implement or enforce Obamacare. Every appropriations bill [must] include the language that none of these funds shall be used to implement or enforce Obamacare.

“We can do that all through 2011 and 2012, until we elect a president who will sign the repeal of Obamacare.

“That puts pressure on the Senate as well. I think the repeal that goes to the Senate tomorrow, if all goes well, if there can be a vote forced in the Senate, I think the repeal of Obamacare will pass. So there are several components of this. Defunding is the most useful tool. But we will get to repeal one day.”
King also says he opposes a “piecemeal approach” that would save certain elements of Obamacare in order to gain Democratic support.

“There is a risk to the piecemeal approach. The bills that come out that want to carve one piece out of Obamacare, and another piece and another piece, if you go down that path it lets a little steam out of the pressure cooker and the opposition to it will diminish. So I say we have to pull it all out by the roots, every bit of it.

“The defunding component of it is difficult, but it brings about a confrontation with the president, and the president will have to decide whether his pet policy, his signature healthcare bill, is more important to him than the function of the United States government. That will be a presidential decision, not a congressional decision.”

Ciaos Starts As Healthcare Reform Takes Hold, 74% of Physicians Will Retire, Seek Other Alternatives

Healthcare reform if it is not repealed will usher in a new era of medicine in which physicians will largely cease to operate as full-time, independent, private practitioners accepting third party payments. Instead, they will work as employees, as part-timers, as administrators, in cash-only “concierge” practices, or they will walk away from medicine altogether.

These are some of the findings of a new report commissioned by The Physicians Foundation entitled “Health Reform and the Decline of Physician Private Practice“. The report outlines provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and examines economic, demographic and other forces impacting the way doctors structure their practices and deliver care.

The report offers a road map for where medical practice is headed in the post-reform era, says Lou Goodman, PhD, president of The Physicians Foundation and chief executive officer of the Texas Medical Association.

Concern about patient care
“The private practice physician is rapidly disappearing,” Goodman notes. “Both market forces and the health care reform law are forcing physicians to find new ways of running a practice. We are extremely concerned about how this will affect patient care.”

Drawing on the perspective of a panel of healthcare experts and executives, the report projects physicians will follow one of four courses:

• Work as employees of increasingly larger medical groups or hospital systems
• Establish cash-only practices that eliminate third party payers
• Reduce their clinical roles by working part-time
• Opt out of medicine altogether by accepting non-clinical positions or by retiring.

Survey results in agreement
The projections are backed by results of a national physician survey included in the report. Of some 2,400 physicians responding, only 26 percent said they would continue practicing the way they are in the next one to three years. The remaining 74 percent said they would retire, work part-time, close their practices to new patients, become employed and/or seek non-clinical jobs. Based on the survey and other data, the white paper projects health reform will worsen the ongoing physician shortage and make it harder for many patients to access a physician.

In order to illustrate medical practice trends, the report includes case studies of medical practice models likely to proliferate post-reform, including studies of a medical home, an accountable care organization, a concierge practice, a community health center, and a small, hospital-aligned practice.

Repeal of Obamacare Doesn’t Increase the Deficit

When now-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D–CA) was sworn in as Speaker on January 4, 2007, the national debt stood at $8.67 trillion. By the time Pelosi surrendered the gavel to Speaker John Boehner (R–OH) yesterday, the national debt stood at $14.01 trillion. At $5.34 trillion, that means Speaker Pelosi added more than $1 trillion in debt per year during her tenure as Speaker. And yet she has the audacity to tell reporters Tuesday: “Deficit reduction has been a high priority for us. It is our mantra, pay-as-you-go.” Which is complete B.S.

Only someone so out of touch with reality that they could claim that “deficit reduction” has been their “highest priority” while simultaneously adding more than $1 trillion a year to the debt could possibly claim that repealing Obamacare would add to the debt. But that is exactly what Pelosi wants us to believe. Also on Tuesday she claimed that repealing Obamacare would do “very serious violence to the national debt and deficit.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

While the CBO did produce a report projecting that Obamacare could produce $124 billion of savings over its first 10 years, no honest and intelligent person believes that that score will ever become reality. Not even the CBO. CBO Director Doug Elmendorf wrote: “CBO’s cost estimate noted that the legislation maintains and puts into effect a number of policies that might be difficult to sustain over a long period of time.” Elmendorf then goes on to identify a number of specific Obamacare policies, such as arbitrary reductions in the growth rate for Medicare spending, that anyone who follows health care policy knows will be impossible to actually implement.

Speaking of arbitrary reductions in the growth rate for Medicare spending, another way Speaker Pelosi gamed the CBO to get a fantasy deficit reduction number was to ignore how Medicare pays doctors altogether. Early versions of Obamacare included a permanent “doc fix” that prevented automatic cuts to physician reimbursements under Medicare. But when Democrats couldn’t get the score to come out right with the doc fix included, they simply solved that problem by cutting it out of the legislation entirely. They have since been forced to pass two extensions of the doc fix in separate pieces of legislation. It’s super easy to claim that your health care bill doesn’t add to the deficit if you don’t bother to include payment for doctors in it.

And there are other aspects of Obamacare ‘cost controls’ that were not identified as politically suspect by CBO and are already rapidly crumbling. Not only is the individual mandate to buy health insurance being gravely challenged in the courts, but support among Democrats is also evaporating, particularly among those who have to face voters in 2012. Senator Claire McCaskill (D–MO), who is up for reelection next year, came out in favor of scrapping Obamacare’s individual mandate yesterday, telling MSNBC “There’s other ways we can get people into the pool—I hope—other than a mandate, and we need to look at that.”

Nobody expects President Barack Obama to sign a bill that would repeal his signature accomplishment as president. But that does not mean that a House repeal of Obamacare would be a waste of time. It would be a strong signal to the nation that the new House is serious about honest deficit reduction, bureaucracy reduction and putting control of health care back into the hands of American families.

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